Taiwan says 2 US warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Taiwan says 2 US warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Two U.S. warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait in the latest apparent move by Washington to challenge China’s claims in the region.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said in a statement the ships passed through from south to north on Wednesday without incident, adding they were free to sail in the Taiwan Strait.

There was no immediate response from China, which claims Taiwan as its territory. Last month, Beijing complained about a French ship entering Chinese territorial waters as it passed through the strait.

China maintains a more ambiguous boundary than defined by international treaty and has asserted a claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, which is contiguous with the Taiwan Strait.

Such passages through the strait by the U.S. Navy are seen as a show of support for Taiwan, a close American ally despite their lack of formal diplomatic relations.

The U.S. has also pushed back against China’s sweeping territorial claims in disputed South China Sea waters by sailing near Beijing’s man-made islands where China constructed airstrips and placed radar and weapons systems, drawing angry protests from Beijing.

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